Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting

Peru, Lima 2008 - Concurso de Cafe de Calidad

El Concurso de Cafe de Calidad IV, Lima Peru 2008. It sounds impressive but it is certainly a competition-in-progress, not a Cup of Excellence. 6 International judges, 6 Catadores Peruano. We had some fun, but never left Lima for the countryside, so it feels like a fairly unsatisfying origin trip. But we all came because we want to support the discovery of quality coffee from Peru. There is so much potential in Peru; great cultivar (Typica), incredible altitude, dedicated farmers.

One of the biggest issues is the coops, who wage fierce competition against eachother and have not, as of yet, found a way to unite and support an all-Peru competition. The second issue is the farms in Villa Rica, different than the rest of the small-holder farms in the rest of Peru, these are large old-money plantations that do not share the same goals as much of the Peru industry. The third issue is the lack of a strong, central coffee association that can bring all these varied members together. And perhaps the final issue is a warehouse and export trade, which is not very interested in small lots, not interested in working in a new way to help preserve coffee quality (new packaging methods, etc), and dominated by one company that handles 48% of Peru's coffee. So it is a tough situation, and utimately the coffee industry in Peru fails to help the lowest links in the chain, the community coffee farmer, to get better prices for coffee cherry. Why? Because beyond Organic certifications, and beyond Fair Trade, there are the price benefits that comes from roasters and consumers who recognize better cup quality. Holding a Peru Cup of Excellence would allow the quality of Peru coffee speak for itself, influence coffee buyers, and shift the perception of Peru coffee. It would also provide a new model for the correct harvesting, fermentation, drying, milling, sorting, warehousing and transporting of coffee. I realize, I have some strong opinions about Peru coffee, about the problems here, and the way the coffee trade could change ... but only because I see the great potential from what we cupped here at the competition, and in our innovative small lot purchases facilitated by KC O'Keefe, who now runs Cafe Verde in Lima.

Here is a couple little movies I uploaded to YouTube. Then we can get into the pictures. Click on small images for the larger versions.

A little Lima movie ...traffic, the town, the coffee tasting. A collage of Lima images, and the competition itself. The music is a 1960's Peruvian rock band...
Cupping in quicktime... This is a 1 frame-per-second sped-up version of the cupping, starting halfway through Round 2 of the Semi-Finals, the cleanup, set up of round 3, and the judging of dry fragrance.I forgot my camera, and left it running in the cupping room.. but I kinda like seeing the cleanup and set-up. It is something that, as a judge, we never see because we are in anopther room discussing the scores.
Clouds over St. George
Clouds over St. George
Flying from Atlanta to Lima over the Carribean. Beautiful clouds ... On my way to judge in the ellusive, exclusive, all-expense-paid, Concurso de Cafes de Calidad IV. It was one of the first times I have been on a trip and NOT seen a coffee tree, walked a farm, visited a mill ... it was all held in Miraflores section of Lima, Peru
The coast in Lima
The coast in Lima
I was so excited to see that you can surf in Lima. I was not so excited that it was damn cold, air and water, and that the water is reportedly quite dirty with city sewage. Groan...
Sipan - our hotel
Sipan - our hotel
We stayed at a clean yet fairly basic hotel since it was near the Instituto San Martin where we were cupping. But it's nicer to stay close to the Plaza de Armas (main square) in Miraflores.
Fountain in the Circulo
Fountain in the Circulo
Miraflores part of Lima is filled with nice parks, planted boulevards, and traffic circles with fountains like this. It's definitely upper middle class.
Some nice grafitti
Some nice grafitti
I liked this hunched over stencil guy. a lot of the other grafitti was lame-o.
Inverted Sock Assortment
Inverted Sock Assortment
In Miraflores part of Lima, Peru. It's a big shopping area, but I prefer small-town shopping to this...
Hosiery assortment in Peru
Hosiery assortment in Peru
In Miraflores part of Lima, Peru. I just thought it was a funny display ...
A dress of flowers
A dress of flowers
There was a flower festival in town, but really it was just a disappointing assrtment of commercial booths. This was one of the few things there....In Miraflores part of Lima, Peru.
finger puppets
finger puppets
Colorful knit finger puppets, imported from Nicaragua. well, probably not. But did you know a lot of crafts sold in Costa Rica and Guatemala, sold as local, are from Nicaragua, or Honduras, or the south of Mexico? It's true...
Alex Love Bethy
Alex Love Bethy
Immortalized (?) on a cactus near the so-called Love Park In Miraflores part of Lima, Peru.
More views of the Lima surf
More views of the Lima surf
In Miraflores part of Lima, Peru ... a closed-out and stormy day. The waves are fairly gentle but sizable too.
Giant Puffy Lover Sculpture.
Giant Puffy Lover Sculpture.
Oh that latin blood, they really know all about romance, celebrated by this hulking spray concrete ode to middle age romance In Miraflores part of Lima, Peru.
Suicide Bridge by Lover's Park
Suicide Bridge by Lover's Park
They secured this bridge acriss from the park so nobody else could jump from it - egads!
More ominous at night...
More ominous at night...
We returned a bit later, and the sculpture gave a different impression in the dark, with spotlights on it ...
Christina's Peru
Christina's Peru
In perhaps one of the most bizarre happenings, this woman came up to our dinner table to tell us how happy she was to find a husband from the US using "Christina's of Peru" marriage service, and left us a card. Huh? We all must have looked somehow desperate. It was bizarre, and at a nice restaurant too. I told her we were all plastics salespeople and would she like to buy anything from our catalogs...
Lotsa Kissin' in Miraflores
Lotsa Kissin' in Miraflores
At the lover's park ... nobody is too embarassed of being a cliche...
Restaurant over the surf
Restaurant over the surf
We ate here later this restaurant on the pier ... and the food is quite good, but not too cheap.
Japanese Tour
Japanese Tour
This bus was full of Japanese tourists (in case you don't know, there is a lot of Japanese in Peru as tourists, as business owners, as investors, as former Presidents ...) but what was funny was that they were all so confused why I was taking a picture of their bus. I said I was a tourist. That didn't answer their question, I think.
You can still get Expreso in Peru
You can still get Expreso in Peru
It's good to know they still serve Expreso here...
Barranca town square
Barranca town square
Next to Miraflores is Barranca, more colonial, with a great town square. I like it more ... very nice.
Dominos in Barranca
Dominos in Barranca
It's good to know that, where ever you go, lousy pizza is close at hand.
Scrawlers of Lima No. 1
Scrawlers of Lima No. 1
Grafitti of Lima No. 1
Scrawlers of Lima No. 2
Scrawlers of Lima No. 2
Grafitti of Lima No. 2. The Cockroach was here!!!
record shop in lima
record shop in lima
while strolling around with the 2 chrises, i did some record shopping, yeilding a couple goofy things. If you are looking for knock-offs of Ratt or Saxxon, perhaps some Madonna, or other MOR stuff, you might find it in Lima. Funny though, this little xerox was probably worth more than most of the stuff in the store...
My goth outfit is now complete...
My goth outfit is now complete...
I found a plastic "gothic cross" that was very humerous, until i realized i paid nearly $10 for it. It's not good to forget your US dollar to Peruvian Soles conversion rate while shopping.
Attencion, Trekkies Peruanos!
Attencion, Trekkies Peruanos!
1990s spanish language trekkie zine from Lima Peru - wahoo! Star Trek in any language spells "g-e-e-k" ... which is, I suppose, why I watched every single episode in order last year... that, or just masochism.
In Barranca, the Venus
In Barranca, the Venus
Oddly, this Venus seems to have her assets showing a bit more than the Italian one ...
Hot events in Lima
Hot events in Lima
There's no shortage of hot nightlife in Lima, Including Ray from New York and Dimension Latina from Venezuela.
Plaza de Armas, Lima Peru
Plaza de Armas, Lima Peru
The main square in Lima, showing the govenors house across the way.
Main Cathedral of LIma
Main Cathedral of LIma
The doors of the main Cathedral. We took a car tour and were so fouled in traffic, and late for lunch, we didn;t even get out at the main square ... hence the crappy pictures.
Huaca Pucllana pre-Incan Tomb, Miraflores
Huaca Pucllana pre-Incan Tomb, Miraflores
Huaca Pucllana is the only Incan or pre-Incan site in all of the Lima area. It's in Miraflores, and is a pretty nice restaurant too.
Miraflores grafitti, plus kitty kat
Miraflores grafitti, plus kitty kat
Miraflores grafitti, plus kitty kat
Mega Cargo Bike
Mega Cargo Bike
Fruit vendors and others use some killer 3 wheel cargo bikes in Lima. A few are based on motorized mopeds.
The Old Pub, Established 1997
The Old Pub, Established 1997
I don't know why I even try, but the thought of a decent beer in Lima seemed enticing. The sign should have been a warning. This is located on the Calle de las Pizzas, I kid you not, Pizza street.
ISAMP, Miraflores, Lima Peru
ISAMP, Miraflores, Lima Peru
We held this competition in a institute for training food workers in Miraflores. It was a good facility.
Concurso de Papas, Lima Peru
Concurso de Papas, Lima Peru
Wait, I think I came here for the wrong "concurso." Wasn't this supposed to be coffee we were judging. I mean, I like potatoes, but I don't know much about them. Anyway, it appears they take "papas" more seriously than "café" in Peru, sometimes. Many of the coops fight here, and one company controls nearly 50% of the exports. It's one reason that cup of excellence has never been held in Peru, to date. Peru still ahs too much of a "bulk coffee" (or even "bulk organic") mindset. Maybe the Concurso de Papas Peruano is more progressive than the Concurso de Cafe?
El Jurado Internacional
El Jurado Internacional
Chris Wade, from CBI in Portland, now a part of Farmers Brothers; Chris Kornman from Intelli, Aleco Chigounis from Stumptown, Geoff Watts from Intelli
The room for cupping
The room for cupping
The facilities at ISAMP were great for a group this size (12 cuppers total, 6 Peruano, 6 International).
Some of the judges: Geoff, Aleco, Thompson, Chris, Julio
Some of the judges: Geoff, Aleco, Thompson, Chris, Julio
Geoff was head judge (Intelligentsia), Aleco (Stumptown), Thompson (Sweet Maria's), Chris Wade (Coffee Bean International), Julio (Mitsubishi, Guatemala)
Mmm... French Roast
Mmm... French Roast
On the poster for the competition, it was funny how they used images of french roast coffee. it's typical.
Geoff at the computer
Geoff at the computer
Leading the discussion, Geoff at the computer
Chris Kornman
Chris Kornman
The mark of a true cupper, dry grounds on the nose. Chris works at Intelligentsia in Chicago
Julio AKA Lionel Richie
Julio AKA Lionel Richie
or AKA Gene Simmons, or Richard Simons, or just "Simmons"
All lined up
All lined up
Ground coffee samples are lined up for each table, so judges can visually inspect them for roast color variations.
Julio AKA Vin Diesel
Julio AKA Vin Diesel
Julio works for Mitsubishi in Guatemala. 2 million bags a year, baby. He's a nice guy too.
The boots.
The boots.
why take a picture of the boots? why not? Why upload the picture of the boots. Because I like it.
Chris Wade and Chris Kornman
Chris Wade and Chris Kornman
The two Chrises. Wade was called "Sailor" since he's a sailor (!), and Kornman was "Young Iggy" since he looked like young Iggy Pop, sez me.
Geoff, Aleco in the background
Geoff, Aleco in the background
Geoff was knicknamed "Oso Ambrodsado" i.e. Huggy Bear.
Maritza
Maritza
Maritsa received the knickname Mama Cata, after the farm in Panama, and Mother who cups (catar, to taste)
The green samples...
The green samples...
The green samples waiting to be roasted for the competition.
Aleco AKA El Toro de Paz
Aleco AKA El Toro de Paz
or El Toro para Obama
Julio and Alex
Julio and Alex
Alex was the chicarra (cicada) for the distinct sound he made while cupping.
Cristobal Llanos
Cristobal Llanos
Cristobal AKA Chicha, has worked in coffee since 1983 and was the main cupper for the Junta de Cafe, the central coffee association for Peru.
Alex AKA Chicharra
Alex AKA Chicharra
Alex was the chicharra (cicada) for the distinct sound he made while cupping.
Madelaine and Mario
Madelaine and Mario
Cleaning the cups ...
Martisa, Mama Cata
Martisa, Mama Cata
Breaking the crusts to judge wet aroma.
Lourdes AKA Mispero
Lourdes AKA Mispero
Lourdes misheard Julio ... he was talking about Miss Peru and she thought he said mispero, a sweet Peruvian fruit ... so that was her nickname, mispero.
Recognizing the staff
Recognizing the staff
The people who set up the samples, pour water and clean up are so important for a cupping. Following tradition, we made a monetary collection and presented it to them to show our gratitude.
Geoff tells it like it is ...
Geoff tells it like it is ...
He had a lot of good comments, that the competition was a good start, but nowhere near the Cup of Excellence ... well, it was good in terms of the cupping, but not in terms of the auction they want to have. They don't have the lots secured, they don't have a 3rd party auditor, or a bonded warehouse ...
The sample roaster
The sample roaster
An electric 2 barrel Probat was set up outside for sample roasting
Cafe Verde, Miraflores Lima
Cafe Verde, Miraflores Lima
So we visted our friend K.C. O'Keefe at his cafe, Cafe Verde in Lima. KC just returned after working for a while at Intelli in Los Angeles, with his wife Tatiana and son Jeremiah. They live above the cafe, where they have the best, freshest coffee in Lima hands down.
Surprise Visit
Surprise Visit
We came unannounced and KC was in the window with his 6 month old son, Jeremiah. Kinda funny...
Roasting in sample roasters.
Roasting in sample roasters.
They have a lineup of 3 sample roasters, 2 barrels each, I guess that makes them 6 barrels, more than 4 barrel coffee in sf!
Sample roaster 2
Sample roaster 2
All the coffee is roasted on sample roasters, what the serve and sell by the pund in the store.
Entrance and counter
Entrance and counter
It's a neat shop, with wi-fi and lotsa glass. I think they are going to do well, and they have expert baristas, since KC also runs the cupping and the barista school here.
Good use for a dollar
Good use for a dollar
A dollar bill cleverly folded into a shirt, at Cafe Verde in LIma Peru
Mr KC O'Keefe.
Mr KC O'Keefe.
KC is also founder of Jungle Tech and sources some really nice Peru coffees.

 

Also see my previous Peru excursion travelog
featuring a bazillion pictures
of coffee trees, rivers, dirt, actual coffee farmers, dogs, and street signs. Wow!


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